NO_THING – An infrared light framework that turns (almost) anything into a device

Developed by the Innovation Lab of Milla & Partner GmbH, a German interaction and spatial design agency based in Stuttgart and Berlin, NO_THING is a tracking and mapping framework that uses infrared light to turn portable physical objects into interactive displays. Prepared with reflective foil markers, unassuming surfaces as simple as a sheet of paper can reveal customized, proximity-related content that responds to point and click, drag and drop or spatial gestures.

NO_THING recently premiered at the German Pavilion at the Expo Milano 2015 after four years of R&D. Here, blank sheets of cardboard are turned into handheld “SeedBoards” that seamlessly provide visitors with information about the latest in energy and nutrition (this Expo’s theme is “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”) across fourteen different stations. While NO_THING’s immediacy, intuitiveness and tactile, low-tech interface speaks particularly well to general audiences such as Expo’s, the German Pavilion implementation is only one of many applications the developers foresee. Scaleable with budget, technology, and context, NO_THING is ‘bridge technology’, they say, that allows them to experiment with tomorrow’s “holodeck” scenarios today.

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